Updates on COVID-19
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Responds to COVID-19 (Updated 5/31/2020)
The University is actively working on contingency plans as operations change to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our community. Updates on the University’s response to COVID-19 are continuously provided on UNC’s Coronavirus Updates page.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research will host regular Q&A sessions for faculty
- Next meeting will be Monday, June 8th at 3:00 p.m.
- Zoom details can be found here once available. Onyen login required.
- All participants will be muted, so please submit any questions you have in advance to VCR@unc.edu.
- If time allows, additional questions may be submitted on the Zoom chat.
- Researchers are asked to join using computer audio and not call in separately due to limited capacity.
- If joining by cell phone, participants should link their audio session to the computer session by inputting their participant code at the beginning of the session.
- Recording of the May 27th Q&A session can be found here.
- The University will resume research operations in facilities and labs on campus at reduced capacity effective June 1, 2020. Guidelines for the resumption process are available here.
- Research will no longer be restricted to specifically approved “critical research activities,” and forms for that purpose will no longer need to be submitted to the OVCR.
- On June 1, on-campus research operations and facilities will increase up to 50% of capacity. Restrictions will be loosened or tightened in the weeks and months ahead based on advice of public health experts.
- The research deans of individual schools and the College of Arts & Sciences will be responsible for deciding how their units’ research operations will return to 50% capacity.
- While research facilities will resume operation at reduced capacity, all research that can effectively be done remotely should continue to be conducted remotely and not on campus for reasons of health and safety. The OVCR’s research support offices continue to be open and operating remotely to provide full support to the research enterprise.
- UNC researchers must follow specific guidelines while working on campus, including monitoring health and reporting onset of symptoms, wearing University-approved face masks inside facilities, maintaining six-foot physical distancing and adhering to specified sanitation and hygiene practices. Additional information regarding resuming operations on campus can be found here.
- Essential services to UNC laboratory buildings have been maintained since the University ramped down in March. These will expand as the volume of research on campus increases.
- After June 1, 2020, access to research facilities will no longer be limited to employees designated as “mandatory” through UNC HR.
- Human subjects research that requires participant contact should adhere to these guidelines.
- The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) has been providing care and support for research animals since reduced operations began in March. When working in animal facilities, coordinate with the DCM staff to maintain appropriate distancing and other safety procedures. Detailed guidance on working in animal rooms will be posted soon.
- The Office of Human Research Ethics and the Office of Animal Care and Use are receiving and reviewing protocols normally and board meetings are proceeding on schedule.
- Specific questions about research operations during the outbreak should be directed to staff in the relevant research administration offices. These offices are open and continue to serve our researchers. Questions may also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide further guidance and direction as more information becomes available.
- Note Concerning Travel and Parking: Travel for UNC business is currently restricted to North Carolina and is not permitted outside of the state at this time. The University will release more information about travel when we receive further guidelines from the UNC System and the State. Information on changes to University parking policies and public transit can be found at the University Transportation & Parking website.
- This information is a part of the University’s overall response to COVID 19. For full details of the University’s response and how it could affect you visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Coronavirus Updates page.
- NIH, NSF, and DoD have released guidance permitting flexibility during the COVID-19 situation. Specifically, NIH permits salaries to continue to be charged to grants even if there is a work stoppage caused by the pandemic. NIH and other agencies permit travel costs to be charged if the travel was disrupted by COVID-19 and those costs cannot be refunded.
- The OVCR is organizing a research study team to develop a voluntary COVID-19 surveillance study that includes testing and contact tracing. This team’s work may inform future decisions around the conduct of research on campus.
- Plans to Scale Up Research on UNC-CH Campus, OVCR (May 23, 2020)
- UNC System COVID-19 Work-Leave Provisions for April (March 27, 2020)
- Message from Campus Leaders on Reducing Campus Operations (March 20, 2020)
- Updated Guidance for Research Activities in Response to COVID-19 (March 18, 2020)
- COGR’s Web Page on Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19 and Additional Resources (Including COGR’s FAQs)
- COGR’s Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19’s Impact on Federal Awards (Version 2.1) (March 31, 2020) has been revised to include updates to agency guidance.
- FAQ Addendum with new FAQs developed from questions from the membership which will be updated weekly as additional information becomes available.
- Federal Agency Guidance Matrix with several major grant-making agencies updated weekly as additional guidance becomes available. (March 31, 2020)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- NIH Extramural Response to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies
- NIH Extramural FAQs on Natural Disasters and Emergencies
- NIH COVID-19 Late Application Policy
- NIH Guidance on Travel and Meetings
- NIH General FAQs on Proposal Submission & Award Management During COVID-19
- Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) Disaster Planning & Response Resources
- Flexibilities Available to NIH Applicants and Recipients of Federal Funding Affected by COVID-19
- FAQs on COVID-19 Flexibilities for NIH Applicants and Recipients
- General Webpage for NIH Coronavirus Information
- NIH Message to Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funds on Flexibilities Needed for COVID-19
- Guidance for NIH-funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19
National Science Foundation
- NSF Guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus due to Loss of Operations
- Repurposing Existing Federal Financial Assistance Programs and Awards to Support the Emergency Response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- NSF Implementation of OMB Memorandum M-20-17
- NSF: COVID-19 FAQs for Proposers and Awardees
- Impact on Existing Deadline Dates
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Department of Defense (DoD)
Department of Energy (DoE)
National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (March 19, 2020)
- Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (March 9, 2020)
Council on Governmental Regulations (COGR)
- A list of funding opportunities related to COVID-19 is being maintained by the Office of Research Development.
- COVID-19 Guidance from DCM Management for Labs Using Animal Models
- Update and Guidance from Office of Animal Care and Use
- OLAW Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care Webinar
COVID-19 FAQs for these offices are under development based on inquires being received from the research community.
Clinical research that provides an immediate benefit for the health and well-being of a participant should continue; however, going forward, this work will be subject to guidance and direction from UNC Health. The UNC Health coronavirus websiteshould be consulted for direction regarding such research.
- OHRE/IRB COVID-19 Update and FAQs
- The Temporary Policy on Human Subjects-Related Research Visits at UNC-CH.
- FAQs for researchers on the new policy.
- Temporary Policy Change Re: External Visitors to UNC Health Care Investigational Drug Services (IDS) during COVID-19 Outbreak
The individual COI Committees will meet remotely as needed and the COI Chairs continue to assess the expedited reviews. Reports or certifications to sponsors such as organizational COI or FCOI reports are continuing to be processed and submitted as needed.
COVID-19 FAQs for this office are under development based on inquires being received from the research community.
- FAQs on administrative leave, telework, mandatory employees, benefits, and other work policies (updated regularly)
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (May 1, 2020)
- UNC System Office Guidance on Temporary Suspension of All Non-Essential Human Resource Actions (March 30, 2020)
- UNC System COVID-19 Work-Leave Provisions for April (March 27,2020)
- Information for postdoctoral scholars from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (March, 2020)
- All research employees should consult the University’s COVID-19 telework guidance and confer with their supervisors to confirm the degree to which they may work remotely.
- UNC Pandemic and Communicable Disease Emergency Policy (includes “mandatory employee” policy)